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Fri12062019

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

There may be a future version of this column that covers streaming content, and only streaming content, because that’s where we’re headed. (Some of you are already there; the Cord-Cutter Cabal constantly tells me, “But I don’t have regular TV anymore! What about meee?!”) There will be no networks, only on-demand platforms where everyone watches whatever at their own pace—it could be an HBO series from three years ago, or last week’s Bachelor in Paradise, or the latest TMZ report on Bachelor in Paradise STI stats; who knows? Anyway: Party Boat (movie premiere Thursday, Aug. 24, Crackle) is an ’80s-riffic movie about a party boat, on streamer Crackle. You’ll probably check it out in 2021.

A Netflix comedy starring Kathy Bates as a marijuana shop proprietor? How could this possibly suck? Easy: It’s created and produced by the king-daddy laugh-track-hack himself, Chuck Lorre. Disjointed (series debut Friday, Aug. 25, Netflix) stars Bates as a Los Angeles “weed legend” who opens her cannabis dispensary with her recently graduated son and sundry “budtenders”; lazy, outdated hippie yuks and mellow-harshing canned laughter ensue. Disjointed is no Weeds or High Maintenance—hell, it’s not even The Big Bang Theory, Lorre’s pinnacle achievement in co-opting a richly eccentric niche of society and dumbing it down for ’Merica. Bates bailed on American Horror Story for this?

This column reviewed the first live-action take on cartoon hero The Tick back in 2001, an initial Fox failure that’s now a beloved cult item for legions of fans (unlike this column, the continued existence of which is usually met with: “You still doing that?”). For The Tick (series debut Friday, Aug. 25, Amazon Prime), creator Ben Edlund is back onboard and determined to make it stick this time, delivering a darker and slightly more serious tone—more Christopher Nolan Batman, less Adam West Batman. The shift showed in the 2016 Amazon pilot, and carries through the new series; Peter Serafinowicz is no Patrick Warburton, but this isn’t the same Tick. We’ll get over the absence of Batmanuel.

Instead of my usual bitching about the Best “Rock” Video category (Coldplay and Fall Out Boy still in … I’m out), I’ll focus on the performers at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards (Sunday, Aug. 27, MTV). Host Katy Perry will obviously have to show up and lip sync, but will Miley Cyrus make it after bailing on the Teen Choice Awards? The closest thing to a rock band performing this year is 30 Seconds to Mars, which reminds me: Have you seen the 2012 documentary Artifact, about the band’s battle with the record company? It’s 10 percent valuable music-biz lesson, and 90 percent Jared Leto in ridiculous hats and scarves, which I believe to be a performance-art piece within the doc. Watch that instead.

Right about now is when the Thronies start losing their shit. Game of Thrones (Season 7 finale Sunday, Aug. 27, HBO) is closing its penultimate chapter, so cue the handwringing: “Why is this season only seven episodes long?!” Because that’s how many they made. “Why do we have to wait a whole year for the final season?!” Because that’s how long it’ll take to make it. “But why does Game of Thrones have to end?!” Because the show runners have to get to work on their brilliant, already-so-well-received idea for a series about a Confederate United States. “But what will I watch now?! There’s literally nothing else on!” If only there were a guide, perhaps in weekly written form, recommending good TV shows. If only.

In honor of the 100th episode of Suits (Wednesday, Aug. 30, USA), this column will attempt to answer the question, “So, what the hell is Suits?” The crux of the story is that a big-deal Manhattan lawyer (Gabriel Macht) hired a young law-school dropout (Patrick J. Adams) to work in his corporate law firm/apparent modeling agency … and 99 episodes later, here we are! A whole lotta posing, hair-tossing and exclamations of, “I’ll see you in court!” happened between then and now; fortunately, USA’s White Collar ceased to be a point of series confusion years ago. (White Collar was about beautiful FBI agents and a rogue outsider—totally different.) Happy 100th, Suits!

Published in TV

After a fall-winter-spring blur of Too Many Shows, you’re thinking to yourself, “Summer is finally here—I can take a break from TV. Praise the Lord!”

Sorry. Your god has abandoned you: Here are 32 new and returning series you’re going to have to watch this summer, because peak TV knows no season.

In the unexpected return of Flaked (Season 2 premiere; Friday, June 2; Netflix), Chip (Will Arnett) heads back to Venice to rehab his ruined Local Hero status, if not his booze problem. Matters are even more dire for the gang on Fear the Walking Dead (Season 3 premiere; Sunday, June 4; AMC), as vigilante Build the Zombie Wall border patrollers won’t allow them to cross back over from Mexico. It could be worse; they could be struggling comedians in 1970s Hollywood—which is the setting for I’m Dying Up Here (series debut; Sunday, June 4; Showtime).

Tim Heidecker re-ups for more ultra-violent spy action in Decker: Unclassified (Season 2 premiere; Sunday, June 4; Adult Swim), while Aussie comic Jim Jefferies takes another stab at ’Merican TV with late-night talker The Jim Jefferies Show (series debut; Tuesday, June 6; Comedy Central). Latina heroine (?) Teresa (Alice Braga) continues her quest to rule the drug trade in Queen of the South (Season 2 premiere; Thursday, June 8; USA), and the ladies of Litchfield are still doing time in Orange Is the New Black (Season 5 premiere; Friday, June 9; Netflix), hackers be damned.

The ragtag crew of ridiculously good-looking intergalactic criminals remain lost in space in Dark Matter (Season 3 premiere; Friday, June 9; Syfy), and TV’s coolest demon hunter is back and gunning for souls in Wynonna Earp (Season 2 premiere; Friday, June 9; Syfy). Meanwhile, the end is near for the Clone Club in the final run of Orphan Black (Season 5 premiere; Saturday, June 10, BBC America), and even nearer for frenemies Billie and Gene in the two-weekend burn-off of Idiotsitter (Season 2 premiere; Saturday, June 10; Comedy Central).

An all-star cast chews scenery and buffs cuticles in new Florida nail-salon dramedy Claws (series debut; Sunday, June 11; TNT), and primetime goes grindhouse with Blood Drive (series debut; Wednesday, June 14, Syfy), about a cross-country death race where the cars run on—what else?—blood. The Mist (series debut; Thursday, June 22; Spike) rolls out more subtle Stephen King-y scares, and the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling finally get their ’80s-spandexed due in the Alison Brie-led docu-comedy GLOW (series debut; Friday, June 23; Netflix).

Fiddy Cent’s nightclubs ’n’ drugs drama Power (Season 4 premiere; Sunday, June 25; Starz) finds kingpin Ghost (Omari Hardwick) caught in the middle of a, yep, power struggle, while Jesse, Tulip and Cassidy finally hit the road looking for God in Preacher (Season 2 premiere; Sunday, June 25; AMC). Liza (Sutton Foster) deals with the fallout of her bestie Kelsey (Hilary Duff) learning her dark, old secret in Younger (Season 4 premiere; Wednesday, June 28; TV Land), and everybody’s favorite ragtag trio of ridiculously good-looking interplanetary bounty hunters gear up to fight the good-ish fight in Killjoys (Season 3 premiere; Friday, June 30; Syfy).

John Singleton’s Snowfall (series debut; Wednesday, July 5; FX) dramatizes the crack-cocaine epidemic of ’80s Los Angeles, while modernized period piece Will (series debut; Monday, July 10; TNT) juices the legend of a young William Shakespeare as he arrives in the, wait for it, “punk-rock theatre scene of 16th century London.” Back in the present, a pair of college eggheads break it to the White House that an asteroid is six months away from mercifully colliding with Earth in Salvation (series debut; Wednesday, July 12; CBS).

Game of Thrones … yeah, nothing more needs to be said here (Season 7 premiere; Sunday, July 16; HBO). In the final stretch of The Strain (Season 4 premiere; Sunday, July 16; FX), nuclear winter is in full effect; the Strigoi vampires have seized the planet; and our heroes are down for the count—but are they, really? Meanwhile, Ballers (Season 3 premiere; Sunday, July 23; HBO) and Insecure (Season 2 premiere; Sunday, July 23; HBO) are paired up for the most incongruent HBO hour ever, while Midnight, Texas (series debut; Monday, July 24; NBC) takes Charlaine Harris’ supernatural novels for a TV spin.

Would you believe … Sharknado 5 (movie premiere; Sunday, Aug. 6; Syfy)? Marvel’s The Defenders (series debut; Friday, Aug. 18; Netflix) finally brings together Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist for a dysfunctional superhero team-up, while the 21st go-round of South Park (season 21 premiere; Wednesday, Aug. 23; Comedy Central) attempts to find the funny in Trump’s America—if he’s still in office at that point. Fortunately, Abbi and Ilana drop the long-long-long-awaited comeback of Broad City (Season 4 premiere; Wednesday, Aug. 23; Comedy Central), and the new take on The Tick (series debut; Friday, Aug. 25; Amazon Prime) may reunify the country, after all. Spoon!

Published in TV